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The epistemics of grammar: A comparative study of co-constructions in Czech, French, and German

Applicant Oloff Florence
Number 148146
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Linguistische Abteilung Deutsches Seminar Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline German and English languages and literature
Start/End 01.01.2014 - 31.12.2016
Approved amount 478'131.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
German and English languages and literature
Other languages and literature
Romance languages and literature

Keywords (8)

Conversation Analysis ; Interactional Linguistics; cross-linguistic comparison; co-construction of utterances; epistemics; spoken German; spoken Czech; spoken French

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Während eines Gesprächs kann der unvollständige Redebeitrag eines Sprechers durch einen anderen Sprecher vervollständigt werden. Dieses gemeinsame Formulieren von Äußerungen tritt typischerweise bei Wortfindungsschwierigkeiten auf, ist aber auch beim gemeinsamen Erzählen oder Erklären zu beobachten. Obwohl diese sogenannten Ko-Konstruktionen in typologisch unterschiedlichen Sprachen beobachtet wurden, wurden ihre Formenvielfalt und ihre sozialen Funktionen bisher nur unzureichend beschrieben.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Anhand von Videoaufnahmen und Transkriptionen alltäglicher Gespräche in drei Sprachen soll erforscht werden, in welcher Ausprägung gemeinsame Formulierungsaktivitäten vorkommen und welche sozialen Aufgaben diese erfüllen. Das Projekt soll erstens ergründen, welche Arten von Ko-Konstruktionen in den drei Zielsprachen (Deutsch, Französisch und Tschechisch) existieren und inwieweit grammatische Eigenschaften der jeweiligen Sprache (z.B. Wortstellung) unterschiedliche Formen von Vervollständigungen ermöglichen. Zweitens wird untersucht, ob gemeinsames Formulieren eine grundsätzlich kooperative Handlung ist und wie dieses alltagssprachliche Phänomen von Sprechern dazu genutzt wird, Argumentationspositionen und Wissensstände untereinander zu verhandeln.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Einerseits trägt das Projekt zur Entwicklung eines qualitativ-(sprach)vergleichenden Ansatzes sowie zu einer detaillierten Beschreibung gesprochener Sprache und angewandter grammatischer Strukturen bei. Andererseits erlaubt es, Gespräche nicht nur als reinen Informationsaustausch, sondern vor allem als soziale Interaktion zu verstehen, in der gemeinsame Formulierungsaktivitäten systematisch zum Einsatz kommen. Eine genaue Unterscheidung von kooperativem und kompetitivem Sprachverhalten kann zu einem besseren Verständnis von privaten und beruflichen Gesprächssituationen führen.

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.10.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Name Institute

Employees

Publications

Publication
Genau als redebeitragsinterne, responsive, sequenzschließende oder sequenzstrukturierende Bestätigungspartikel im Gespräch
Oloff Florence (2017), Genau als redebeitragsinterne, responsive, sequenzschließende oder sequenzstrukturierende Bestätigungspartikel im Gespräch, in Blühdorn Hardarik, Deppermann Anrulf, Helmer Henrike, Spranz-Fogasy Thomas (ed.), Verlag für Gesprächsforschung, Göttingen, 207-232.
Comparaison de deux marqueurs d’affirmation dans des séquences de co-construction : « voilà » et « genau ».
Oloff Florence (2016), Comparaison de deux marqueurs d’affirmation dans des séquences de co-construction : « voilà » et « genau »., in Testi e Linguaggi, 10/2016, 243-267.
L'évaluation des complétions collaboratives : analyse séquentielle et multimodale de tours de parole co-construits
Oloff Florence (2014), L'évaluation des complétions collaboratives : analyse séquentielle et multimodale de tours de parole co-construits, in SHS Web of Conferences Volume 8, 2014 4e Congrès Mondial de Linguistique Française, BerlinEDP Sciences, Les Ulis (France).
An initial description of syntactic extensions in spoken Czech
Oloff Florence, Havlík Martin, An initial description of syntactic extensions in spoken Czech, in Pragmatics (Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA)).
Revisiting delayed completions: the retrospective management of co-participant action
Oloff Florence, Revisiting delayed completions: the retrospective management of co-participant action, in Deppermann Arnulf, Streeck Jürgen (ed.), John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 00.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
French Department, University of Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. N. Thielemann, Institut für Slawische Sprachen, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Department for General Linguistics, Charles University Prague Czech Republic (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
InSitu team, ICAR Research Lab, Lyon France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Abteilung Pragmatik, Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Romance department, University of Freiburg Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Mgr. M. Havlík, Ph.D., Ústav pro Jazyk Ceský, Prague Czech Republic (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
IPrA (15th conference of the International Pragmatics Association) Talk given at a conference Turn progressivity and joint formulations in settings of mundane multiactivity 16.07.2017 Belfast, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Oloff Florence;
IPrA (15th conference of the International Pragmatics Association) Talk given at a conference Turn beginnings and turn continuations in Czech collaborative turn sequences 16.07.2017 Belfast, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Oloff Florence; Zäch Katerina;
Intersubjectivity in Action Conference Talk given at a conference Revisiting “absent“ responses to pre-emptive completions through video data 11.05.2017 Helsinki, Finland Oloff Florence;
Linguistisches Hauptseminar 3: Diskursmarker (Universität Lausanne, Prof. A. Stukenbrock) Individual talk Genau – Gesprächspartikel, Diskursmarker, „Füllwort“ 16.11.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland Oloff Florence;
25. Deutscher Germanistentag Talk given at a conference Aspekte einer multimodalen Erzählanalyse 28.09.2016 Bayreuth, Germany Oloff Florence;
7th Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies Talk given at a conference Pursuing responses through unfinished utterances in Czech ordinary conversation 20.07.2016 Paris, France Oloff Florence;
Linguistikzirkel Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (organisiert von Prof. N. Thielemann) Individual talk (Un)kooperatives Sprechen in Alltag und Beruf: Gemeinsam formulierte Redebeiträge im Tschechischen und anderen europäischen Sprachen 27.06.2016 Wien, Austria Oloff Florence;
Interaktionslinguistischer Workshop (Universität Basel, französisches Seminar, organisiert von S. Keel) Individual talk Confirming X and closing sequences with “(ja) genau” in German mundane conversations 07.04.2016 Basel, Switzerland Oloff Florence;
Interaktionslinguistischer Workshop (Universität Zürich) Individual talk „(Ja) Genau“ als bestätigende und strukturierende Antwortpartikel in deutschen Alltagsgesprächen 04.04.2016 Zürich, Switzerland Oloff Florence;
19. Arbeitstagung zur Gesprächsforschung Talk given at a conference „Genau“ in Ko-Konstruktionssequenzen: Bestätigung kollaborativer Vervollständigungen und Sequenzmanagement 18.03.2016 Mannheim, Germany Oloff Florence;
Vortrag im Rahmen des Kolloquiums "Linguistische Pragmatik und Kulturanalyse" (H. Hausendorf, A. Linke) Individual talk „Genau“, „ja genau“ oder „jaja genau“: Auf was genau antwortet „genau“ in Ko-Konstruktionssequenzen? 08.03.2016 Zürich, Switzerland Oloff Florence;
Erstes Netzwerk-Treffen KULI (Kulturbezogene und kulturanalytische Linguistik) Talk given at a conference Gemeinsam formulierte Redebeiträge im Deutschen, Französischen und Tschechischen: Ist Sprachvergleich Kulturvergleich? 14.01.2016 Stockholm, Sweden Oloff Florence;
Workshop "Konstruktionen und Ko-Konstruktionen in der Echtzeit authentischer Interaktion" (Organization: S. Pfänder, E. Gülich) Individual talk Ko-Konstruktionen: (Gem)einsam formulieren 17.12.2015 Freiburg i. Br., Germany Oloff Florence;
Sektionentagung der Gesellschaft für Angewandte Linguistik (GAL) Talk given at a conference Gemeinsames Formulieren im sequenziellen Vergleich: Ko-Konstruktionen im Deutschen und Tschechischen. 23.09.2015 Frankfurt / Oder, Germany Oloff Florence;
IIEMCA Conference 2015 "Living the material world" Talk given at a conference Extracting honey, extending turns: Joking sequences in ordinary German conversation (Data Session) 04.08.2015 Kolding, Denmark Oloff Florence;
IIEMCA Conference 2015 "Living the material world" Talk given at a conference Embodied receipts of pre-emptive completions 04.08.2015 Kolding, Denmark Oloff Florence;
14th International Pragmatics Conference Talk given at a conference Searching for words vs. searching for displays of understanding 26.07.2015 Antwerp, Belgium Oloff Florence;
International Conference "Revisiting Participation: Language and Bodies in Interaction" Talk given at a conference More than a recipient - co-constructing co-participation 24.06.2015 Basel, Switzerland Oloff Florence;
International Workshop "L'affirmation dans la conversation" (University of Salerno) Talk given at a conference Comparaison de deux marqueurs d'affirmation dans des séquences de co-construction: "voilà" et "genau". 09.04.2015 Salerno, Italy Oloff Florence;
4. Networking-Day für qualitativ Sozialforschende, Universität Zürich Poster Miteinander sprechen und (ver)handeln. Ko-Konstruktionen in der sozialen Interaktion. 20.11.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Oloff Florence;
CMLF 2014 - 4ème Congrès Mondial de Linguistique Française Talk given at a conference L'évaluation des complétions collaboratives : analyse séquentielle et multimodale de tours de parole co-construits. 19.07.2014 Berlin, Germany Oloff Florence;
4th International Conference on Conversation Analysis 2014 (ICCA) Talk given at a conference Skipping other-speaker talk after disaligned responses: A multimodal perspective on delayed completions. 25.06.2014 Los Angeles, United States of America Oloff Florence;
Kolloquium "Linguistische Pragmatik und linguistische Kulturanalyse" (Prof. H. Hausendorf, Prof. A. Linke), Universität Zürich Individual talk Ko-Konstruktionssequenzen und Wortsuchen. 08.04.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Oloff Florence;
Seminar "Les expressions évaluatives en français" (A.-S. Horlacher), University of Basel Individual talk "Ouais c'est un peu chiant" : la co-construction d'évaluations négatives 01.04.2014 Basel, Switzerland Oloff Florence;
Invited presentation at the Institute for Czech Language / Ústav pro jazyk ceský, Prague. 10.12.2013 Individual talk A comparative approach to co-construction: exploring the epistemic dimension of collaborative turn sequences. 01.01.2014 Prag, Czech Republic Oloff Florence;
Invited presentation at the Sociolinguistic Seminar, Department of General Linguistics (Charles University Prague), 13.11.2013 Individual talk Comparing co-constructions in three languages: A research project in interactional linguistics. 01.01.2014 Prag, Czech Republic Oloff Florence;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshop "Interactional Linguistics" 27.06.2017 Bern (Walter Benjamin Kolleg, University of Bern), Switzerland
Interaktionslinguistischer Workshop (offene Arbeitsgruppe, 2015-2016, insges. 20 Sitzungen) 05.10.2015 Universität Zürich, Switzerland

Abstract

This project aims to investigate co-construction as a recurrent phenomenon in spoken interaction from a cross-linguistic perspective. “Co-construction” designs the completion of a first speaker’s utterance by a second speaker, so that two participants contribute to a single syntactic or utterance unit. Within the framework of Conversation Analysis (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson 1974; Schegloff 2007) and the closely related domain of Interactional Linguistics (Ochs, Schegloff & Thompson 1996; Selting & Couper-Kuhlen 2000), I wish to provide a systematic description of co-construction in three different languages: Czech, French, and German. Based on video recorded naturally occurring interactions in ordinary settings and detailed transcriptions of these data, my project will not only contribute to a thorough, cross-linguistic description of a phenomenon specific to spoken language, but also tackle a practice that can throw light on diverse aspects of the relationship between language specific grammatical resources and interactional conduct. I thus aim to study both grammatical and social aspects of co-construction.My project should first investigate the grammatical resources used for co-construction in Czech, French, and German. The conversation analytical literature on co-construction represents the starting point for my research (Sacks 1992), especially the work by Lerner (1991, 1996), who made the first systematic description of this phenomenon in spoken English. Most research in this domain focuses on syntactic aspects (Lerner 1991, 1996; Ono & Thompson 1995), more specifically, on how grammatical structures enable participants to independently complete a more or less incomplete utterance of a previous speaker. Research on spoken Japanese and Finnish has shown that grammatical features of a given language can lead to specific forms of joint utterance completion (Hayashi 2003a; Helasvuo 2004). In this respect, a first aim of my project is to describe the diversity of co-construction in three languages, for which little (German and French) or no descriptions (Czech) of this phenomenon exist. A second objective is to emphasise language specific forms of co-construction, i.e., forms linked to syntactic, morphological, or other grammatical specificities of each language. The comparative approach is inspired by current research in Conversation Analysis and Interactional Linguistics, which are increasingly tackling the possibilities of a qualitative comparative approach (Sidnell 2009). However, explicit comparative analyses of co-constructions are almost inexistent (for one example, see Lerner & Takagi 1999), therefore the basic idea that different grammatical resources in different languages will lead to possibly different kinds of co-constructional practices has hardly been explored (Karkkäinen, Sorjonen & Helasvuo 2007). On a broader level, this project shall also contribute to general reflections on possible comparative approaches within Conversation Analysis (cf. Haakana, Laakso & Lindström 2009).In addition to the grammatically oriented part of my research, I aspire to investigate co-construction as a social phenomenon. As shown by initial descriptions of this phenomenon in English (Lerner 1991, 1996), co-construction is not simply or exclusively linked to grammatical schemes, but also to local actional features. This explains why co-construction frequently occurs during word search activities (Goodwin & Goodwin 1986; Hayashi 2003b), in joint storytelling or explanation sequences (Hayashi 2003a; Lerner & Takagi 1999). Although co-construction is frequently described as being “collaborative” (e.g. Bolden 2003; Lerner 2004; Szczepek 2000a), this does not imply that every co-participant completion is formatted or treated as such (Mondada 1999; Szczepek 2000b). I therefore plan to investigate how to precisely distinguish between cooperative and competitive forms of co-construction. Following Conversation Analysis, I will not base my analysis on external formal criteria, but instead I will consider how co-construction is locally treated by the participants themselves (“emic” point of view, see Levinson 1983). I plan to analyse co-construction within three-part sequences: a) the more or less incomplete utterance of a first speaker; b) its completion by a second participant; and c) the evaluation of this completion by the first speaker. Although conversation analytical research on co-construction has recognised this sequential organisation, these three parts have not been equally described as research has mainly focused on how grammatical resources enable co-construction. In particular, the third sequential position in co-constructional sequences, the receipt slot, has received little analytical attention (for exceptions see Gülich 1986; Lerner 2004), though this position can convey essential information on the perceived problematic or unproblematic nature of the completion. This point can be usefully related to a burning issue in Conversation Analysis: the negotiation of epistemic positions in interaction (Heritage 2012a; Stivers, Mondada & Steensig (Eds.) 2011). Existing studies show that the participant’s negotiation of epistemic dimensions cannot only be displayed through lexical choices, but also through grammatical structures (word order, mode, tense, cf. Clift 2012; Heritage 2012b). As a matter of fact, co-construction can be related to several issues concerning epistemic negotiation in interaction: participant roles and participation framework (Goodwin & Goodwin 2004), gradual forms of acceptance or refusal of co-participant completion (Lerner 2004), cooperative vs. competitive conduct in interaction (Jacoby & Ochs 1995), as well as change-of-state tokens and response particles in various languages (Golato & Betz 2008; Heritage 1984a; Imo 2007, Sorjonen 2001). As epistemic dimensions have been mainly investigated in English data (Heritage & Raymond 2005, Raymond & Heritage 2006), my research on three different languages can sensibly contribute to this emerging topic in Conversation Analysis.
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